The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is looking at getting an extra $23 million dollars to help tackle the growing backlog of cases at the at the agency.
According to the National Law Journal, the 2010 omnibus appropriations bill, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 10 and by the Senate on Dec. 13, would funnel those additional millions to the EEOC to help the agency get a handle on more than 70,000 unresolved discrimination complaints.
The article reports that the resource-starved EEOC recently saw a 35% jump in its backlog, from 54,970 cases in 2007 to 73,951 last year. The agency also saw a record number of discrimination complaints in 2008 — 95,402 — which was also a nearly 20% increase from 79,896 in 2007. Nearly two-thirds involved racial or gender discrimination.
Meanwhile, the agency has watched staffing levels shrink 25% in recent years under the last administration, from 2,850 in 2001 to 2,150 in 2008. Currently the agency is hiring 200 new investigators.
The EEOC has always had a chronic problem with not being adequately funded. While this new funding won't totally rectify the situation, the move should be welcomed by both employers and employees. Regardless of outcome, it is in everyone's best interest for EEOC investigations to be resolved in as short a time frame as possible.
Read the story here.